CEFISES Seminar: Stijn Conix, “Measuring the societal relevance of humanities research”
June 2@14:00-16:00 CEST
Speaker: Stijn Conix (UCLouvain)
Title: “Measuring the societal relevance of humanities research”
Research in the humanities is primarily funded by public sources, with taxpayers ultimately bearing the cost. Consequently, it should be expected that such research ultimately serves the betterment of society. Thus, estimating, evaluating and maximizing the societal relevance of humanities research should be high on the agenda of funding agencies and researchers in the humanities. Unfortunately, this is highly challenging, with only crude measures currently available. In the research project I’ll be presenting, my co-authors and I take a closer look at peer review as a means to assess the societal relevance of humanities research. Our objectives are to 1) get a rough estimate of the extent to which research in the humanities is societally relevant; 2) investigate potential variations in societal relevance across different fields within the humanities; and, most importantly, 3) gain a better understanding of the use of peer review in evaluating societal relevance. In order to do this, we’ve had 690 book and paper abstracts spanning the breath of the humanities evaluated by PhD students from different fields in the humanities. In the presentation, I’ll explain how we operationalized societal relevance, how we measured and analyzed it, and what we found.